In an effort to reduce waste (and my grocery bill), I tasked myself to create a healthy dinner recipe entirely from ingredients that we already had on hand. Challenged accepted and attained! This easy, cheesy Sun Dried Tomato Pasta with Sausage and Spinach turned out to be one of the tastiest meals we’ve eaten in weeks.
For a household of two in which neither person is either a) a professional athlete or b) training for an eating contest, our monthly grocery bill is embarrassingly high. Although a large portion that expense is a necessary hazard of writing a food blog, I am also guilty of wracking up some serious Drive By Expenses*.
Drive By Expenses*: Costs incurred when I’m pushing (driving) my grocery cart down the aisle to pick up a specific ingredient for a blog recipe and, “Oh my goodness, this [fancy jar of olives; tub of my favorite salsa; bottle of wine] is on sale. I better buy seven!”
I check out, mouth gaping as the cashier announces my total, then open my pantry to put away my new groceries and discover that…everything I bought last week is still sitting on my shelf, unused.
Sun Dried Tomato Pasta – Healthy and Delicious
I need to change my buying habits and make better use of the groceries I have already purchased. It’s less wasteful for the world and my wallet. Also, as this sun dried tomato pasta with sausage and spinach demonstrates, I have been missing out on some delicious, healthy recipes by ignoring my pantry!
Although the contents of my pantry and refrigerator will look different than yours, I am betting that much good can be found if you peek behind the open cereal boxes and half-eaten jars of nut butter.
This sun dried tomato pasta starts with a few items I always have on hand—dry whole wheat pasta (I love this brand), beans, garlic, semi-wilted greens, and cheese (obviously). I also had a package of chicken sausage links in the freezer, so they went into the skillet too.
The final touch is sun dried tomatoes. I love keeping a jar around, because they require ZERO effort but add INSTANT flavor to any recipe, especially pastas.
My pantry may be more fully stocked than yours (again, food blogger hazard), but this recipe is an easy guide you can adapt. No Great Northern beans? Use cannellini. No spinach or arugula? Try adding sautéed kale, broccoli, or whatever other leftover veggie is lurking in your crisper drawer. Vegetarian diet or no sausage on hand? This sun dried tomato pasta is still fantastic and filling without it.
How to Store and Reheat
- To Store. Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
- To Reheat. Reheat gently in the microwave or on the stovetop with a splash of chicken stock (or water) to keep the pasta from drying out. Sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese and herbs before serving.
More Veggie-Packed Pasta Recipes
- Cavatelli and Broccoli
- Garlic Shrimp Pasta
- Cauliflower Pasta
- Creamy Avocado Pasta
- Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Chicken Pasta
Even if you do need to pick up a few ingredients to make this sun dried tomato pasta with sausage and spinach, I promise it will be worth the trip. This pasta recipe comes together in one pan, is healthy and filling, and the combination of the tangy sun dried tomatoes with the zesty sausage and creamy white beans is nothing short of fabulous.
Cheesy Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta with Sausage and Spinach
- 8 ounces whole wheat penne pasta
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 8 ounces precooked chicken sausage links I used Trader Joe's roasted garlic flavor, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 can reduced-sodium white beans, rinsed and drained (I used Great Northern; cannellini or white kidney would work as well) (14 ounces)
- 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil drained and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 5 cups mixed tender greens I used half arugula, half baby spinach
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Chopped fresh herbs for serving (parsley, basil, green onions, or anything you like or have on hand)
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta to al dente, according to package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking liquid, then drain the pasta and set aside.
- In a large, deep skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high. Add the sausage and brown on all sides. Reduce the heat to medium, then add the white beans, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, salt and pepper, and red pepper flakes. Cook until the beans are warmed through and the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the reserved pasta, then the spinach and arugula. If the pasta seems dry, add a little of the reserved pasta water to loosen it. Cook just until the greens wilt, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat and sprinkle with Parmesan and herbs. Enjoy warm.
- Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Reheat gently in the microwave or on the stovetop with a splash of chicken stock (or water) to keep the pasta from drying out. Sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese and herbs before serving.
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